The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is making moves to track anyone involved in selling foreign exchange for items not approved.
Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made this known at the weekend during the 53rd Annual Bankers Dinner held in Lagos.
The affected items, he said, are: Rice; Cement; Margarine; Palm kernel/Palm oil products/vegetables oils; Meat and processed meat products; Vegetables and processed vegetable products; Poultry chicken, eggs, turkey; Private airplanes/jets; Indian incense; Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/sardines; Cold rolled steel sheets; Galvanized steel sheets and Roofing sheets.
On the list too are: Wheelbarrows; Head pans; Metal boxes and containers; Enamelware; Steel drums; Steel pipes; Wire rods(deformed and not deformed); Iron rods and reinforcing bard; Wire mesh; Steel nails; Security and razor wine; Wood particle boards and panels; Wood Fibre Boards and Panels; Plywood boards and panels and Wooden doors.
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Others are Toothpicks; Glass and Glassware; Kitchen utensils; Tableware; Tiles-vitrified and ceramic; Textiles; Woven fabrics; Clothes; Plastic and rubber products, polypropylene granules, cellophane wrappers; Soap and cosmetics; Tomatoes/tomato pastes and Eurobond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases.
Emefiele, CBN boss, also revealed that the number of items not qualified for forex may be increased following the recommendation to that effect.
According to him, that was because there had been a drop of the country’s monthly import bill from $665.4 million in January 2015, to $160.4 million as at October 2018.
Said he: “Based on our internal research conducted at the Central Bank of Nigeria, there is strong support that the recovery of our economy from the recession may have been much weaker or even negative, without the implementation of the restriction on 41 items.
“Our research supports the conclusion that the combination of the restriction on 41 items along with other measures imposed by the fiscal and monetary authorities has helped to promote the recovery.
“In fact, recommendations are being made to the CBN that the list of 41 items be expanded to include other additional items that can be locally produced.”
He added: “We are glad with the accomplishments recorded so far. Accordingly, this policy is expected to continue with vigour until the underlying imbalances within the Nigerian economy have been fully resolved.
“If we continue to support the growth of smallholder farmers, as well as help to revive palm oil refineries, rice mills, cassava, and tomato processing factories, you can only imagine the amount of wealth and jobs that will be created in the country.”